Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realizing that everyone has different test questions. — Anonymous
Does it seem like there’s always someone who does everything more perfectly than you? Someone who’s smarter, taller, prettier, more talented? You probably know someone who is Pinterest perfect—she makes play dough for her kids. Reads to them every night. Bakes cakes from scratch. Wins accolades from her boss, or her clients, since she has her own successful business. Her home could be a designer’s showcase. She balances her work and family like a ballerina on point. She’s perfect and you’re not.
When you compare yourself to someone you think is perfect, you’re going to be unhappy when you don’t measure up. Because you’re not perfect, and neither is anyone else. Consider this: Are you falling for an image that is created in social media and not based in reality? Are you measuring your body image against someone else’s that’s been photo shopped? Are you concocting a story about this person based on the best bits and pieces you know while ignoring the flaws you don’t know?
Think about when you first meet someone, and they seem witty and charming and delightful. We magnify their good traits. When we compare ourselves to them, we discover how truly deficient we are. And we berate ourselves. We’re unhappy and frustrated. That’s because we forget that sooner or later, when we get to know them well, we will discover they have their faults like everyone else.
When you are tempted to compare yourself to someone else, consider:
That you’re setting yourself up for failure. When you hold yourself up to the standards of someone you perceive as perfect, you are bound to come up short. You are probably better at some things and she is better at others. But you perceive that she is perfect. The key word is “perceive.” The truth is, she’s not as perfect as you think.
That you’re unaware of what’s really going on. You can’t really know the perfect person’s struggles and problems. Most people don’t post their failures on Facebook. Things aren’t always as great as they look. Sometimes they’re photo shopped. So you might be agonizing about not being as good as someone who doesn’t even exist in the real world.
Recognizing and embracing your best qualities. The fact is, it’s better to focus on your positive traits rather than bemoan your shortcomings. Celebrate who you are, a unique person who doesn’t need to live up to someone else’s performance. Take the time to recognize your own areas of strength and bolster them.
Being selective about what you wish to excel at. Do you really want to make cakes from scratch? Have you let yourself lose sight of what’s really important to you? Are you trying to be perfect in areas that are really not meaningful to you? Slow down long enough to decide what your heart and soul tell you. You can choose to work on excelling at what’s important to you. And not somebody else’s idea of perfection.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact